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Travesty in Haiti: A True Account of Christian Missions, Orphanages, Fraud, Food Aid and Drug Trafficking
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Travesty in Haiti: A True Account of Christian Missions, Orphanages, Fraud, Food Aid and Drug Trafficking

3.91  ·  Rating Details ·  174 Ratings  ·  19 Reviews
TRAVESTY is an anthropologist's personal story of working with foreign aid agencies and discovering that fraud, greed, corruption, apathy, and political agendas permeate the industry. It is a story of failed agricultural, health and credit projects; violent struggles for control over foreign aid; corrupt orphanage owners, pastors, and missionaries; the nepotistic manipulat ...more
Paperback, 332 pages
Published July 5th 2008 by Booksurge Publishing
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May 26, 2013 Pamh1955 rated it it was amazing
I thought the author did a brilliant job of taking many concepts of food aid, health care and orphanages and uncovered a confusing and shocking level of corruption. He did so through the cultural lens of Haiti. Anyone considering sending aid in any form to Haiti should read this book. It will help you make educated decision about where to put your money and good intentions. This book appears to be self-published and cry's out for some serious editing. I'm shocked that no major publisher has pick ...more
Jul 23, 2015 Brady rated it really liked it
This book takes the first person perspective of an anthropologist who spent 10+ years in Haiti. The title word says it all - travesty. The author goes through various spheres in Haitian humanitarian aid, including food aid, orphanages, medical care, and schools. He also touches on voodoo, the police and justice system, poverty in rural Haiti, and finally on drug trafficking. The author walks away with a cynical and disillusioned perspective after all of his research - for good reason after all t ...more
Aug 28, 2011 Davey rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Heavy stuff, but then again it has to do with Haiti so what isn't? He puts together a pretty compelling case on how food aid has completely effed the country, but I can't get over the sensational feeling of his writing. I don't know how I'd do it better, but he seems to continuously revert to these raw/visceral/primitive tropes in describing the Haitian lifestyle, which made me lose sight of his subject's humanity. They're people down there, and that's why we care about their suffering. He does, ...more
Apr 22, 2016 Linda rated it liked it
An intriguing book about a subject I care very much about. This book, though, left me with more questions than answers. One unsettling part of the book was that it appears to be self-published, and includes several grammatical/spelling/typesetting errors. I also found it unsettling that the author seemed to have quite a bit of difficulty getting along with people while in Haiti, so I do not feel certain how reliable this account is. Definitely an eye-opening book. Left me wanting to know more, e ...more
Jun 22, 2014 Shawn rated it it was ok
Cultural Immersion

This is a first hand account of the author’s extended stay and immersion into the Haitian culture, living among the poor. The book portrays an interesting cross section into Haitian society, as illuminated by the author’s direct experiences of living in the countryside. During his time in Haiti, the author develops strong opinions about the ineffectiveness of foreign aid and this essentially serves as the theme throughout the book.

The author lived in a Hamlet that is a part of
Michael Connolly
A Memoir from an Honest Anthropologist

If you want to know how the world really works, read this book. Read about how food aid often puts native farmers out of work. Read about NGO's that do more harm than good. Read about rampant graft in foreign aid programs. Read about how people pretend to care about the poor, but don't bother to check whether their programs actually work.
Justin Podur
Jun 27, 2013 Justin Podur rated it it was amazing
I knew a lot about Haiti when I read this - I had been there twice, and had pretty much written a book of my own about Haiti politics. But Tim Schwartz's book was still shocking, and his insights are still pretty searing. The chapters on food aid and orphanages especially were of the "too unbelievable to be anything but true" kind. I like his writing too. There is this kind of trick he does where, in each chapter he explains how naively he thought things were one way, then they turned out to be ...more
Jan 28, 2012 Andrea rated it liked it
Another searing testament to the failure of aid organizations to bring about positive change in Haiti. The overarching themes are not new - much of it was covered in Amy Wilentz's Rainy Season in 1990 - but the updated juicy details are no less disturbing 20 years later. As a work of literature, the book could have benefited from a decent spell-checker, and Schwartz's disenchantment and disdain for certain failed organizations permeates each page. Arguably, with good reason. However, as a person ...more
Jan 30, 2011 Craig rated it it was amazing
This should be essential reading for anyone that wants to work in development. It is an unidealized and painfully truthful account of what goes on beyond the periphery of most observers of development. I forget where I read that the author could not find a publisher for this book because of how many organizations it spoke ill of. We also see the challenges the author faces working alone in rural Haiti for his PhD fieldwork. It really hit home for me and captures the essence of this type of work, ...more
Mar 04, 2016 Ann rated it it was amazing
Absolutely disturbing . ..
Kari Gang
Jul 21, 2010 Kari Gang rated it liked it
Wow. This appears to be a self published book by an anthropologist who spent 10 years in Haiti hoping to have a career in Development. He ends up walking away from it all after finding case after case of corruption, lying, stealing, and a general lack of accountability from nearly ALL the people he met there. People from charity organizations, NGO's, pastors, priests, educators, name it. Very eye opening and disheartening. Will there ever be any hope for this country? So much has to ...more
Jun 07, 2016 Lisa rated it really liked it
This is... wow. Eye-opening is an understatement. An important read for anyone doing work in Haiti.
Wow, this is one to pass on to others who share an interest in Haiti or in other third world countries. It is written almost as a memoir of the author's stay in Haiti. He is an anthropologist, a good story teller and an astute observer. The subtitle tells it all. Don't give up on trying to help, but read this book before you write another check.
Jonathan Cotton
Oct 31, 2013 Jonathan Cotton rated it it was amazing
Excellent read for anyone involved in foreign non-profit endeavors. While I believe his intentions are good, Schwartz comes across a little cynical at times. Still, his point is well taken and I have seen examples of some of these "travesties" enough times to understand his bitterness. Definitely worth checking out!
Jun 06, 2013 Taylor rated it really liked it
Shelves: history, 2013, travel
Fascinating, insightful, and depressing view into the NGO world of Haiti. He includes a few good suggestions for improvement in an appendix. One of the major disappointments with the book is how do of typos it is -- they get painfully frequent in the last third of the book.
Oct 25, 2013 Linda rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, haiti
The record of NGO's in Haiti is even worse than I thought! Schwartz portrays them as universally corrupt or naive, mostly corrupt. This seems unlikely 100% of the time, but his point is well-taken that donors have no idea about what actually happens on the ground.
Mar 26, 2013 John rated it liked it
A broad expose of broken development work in Haiti with a particular focus on food aid, written by a bewildered anthropologist/aid worker. Moral of the story: narcotrafficking is probably more effective and less unjust than development projects.
Jun 04, 2012 Amber rated it really liked it
Excellent and a must read for people working and volunteering in Haiti or working in the development field in general. It's pretty scorching but fair and well researched.
Kimberly Wilson
Jan 04, 2016 Kimberly Wilson rated it it was amazing
Must read for those who work and volunteer in Haiti.
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